Guest post by Stefan Debois.
Today, personalization is more important than ever, as consumers and business decision makers alike are overloaded with content. While a lot of information gets ignored, personalized content tends to hit home.
That should come as no surprise. When someone hears their own name, that triggers a unique reaction in those parts of the brain associated with long-term memory. A similar reaction takes place in the brain when people receive personalized content. They tend to remember it for much longer, too.
Additionally, a study by University of Texas shows that personalization helps consumers in two ways: Tailored content makes consumers feel that they have some control over what they wish to see, and it saves them from information overload.
Here are four areas where your business can benefit from using personalization in your digital marketing.
1. Personalization in Email Marketing
Here are a few interesting statistics from various (case) studies suggesting how much of a difference personalization can make in your email campaigns:
- According to Statista, the open rate for personalized emails is 18.8%, compared to 13.1% without any personalization.
- Research by Aberdeen suggests that personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.
- Campaign Monitor shares data which found that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
But email personalization also has its challenges. Getting personalization right is just as important as doing it in the first place.
So, apart from adding the first name of your prospect in the salutation, what else can you do to personalize your emails?
- Compliment a piece of content published by the prospect
- Personalize the call-to-action (CTA) based on prospect’s buyer persona
- Personalize who you send from: include name, title and picture of sending person
- Geographical personalization: “Hope you have a nice evening there in Chicago!”
- Personalize based on events, such as a birthday
2. Personalization in Online Advertising
Personalized advertising is the act of using insights into whom a customer might be to increase the relevancy of an ad. These insights can be as simple as human wants/needs, geolocation, and basic demographic information, to more specific insights such as buying intent and even behavioral patterns.
Here’s an example: a user visits Harry’s site through search. They reach a product page or even the checkout page, but then leave the site before completing their order. They show interest, but something prevented them from making a purchase.
Later, they see an ad like the one at right on Facebook.
A retargeting ad like this works well for a couple of reasons:
- It’s personalized: “Still not convinced?” addresses the fact that reader is already thinking about buying. The user visited the site before, but something prevented them from moving forward.
- It focuses on benefits over features. Harry’s customer-centric copy focuses on what the reader stands to gain from taking action.
Since 98% of visitors to your site won’t make a purchase on their first visit, retargeting ads like those from the Harry’s example nudge customers toward a conversion.
But while retargeting is generally used with people who have been to your site, there’s a new workaround that allows you to retarget anyone that clicks a link that you control. Link retargeting is as simple as adding your retargeting pixel code—be it Facebook, Google, Twitter, or otherwise—to your branded link, so that anyone who clicks on the link is added to your retargeting audience.
For a more in-depth look at personalizing PPC campaigns, I suggest this guide from Larry Kim.
3. Website Personalization
Personalizing your emails and advertisements is a great start, but to really make the most of personalization, consider personalizing the pages people see once they click on the CTA in your email message or online ad, as recommended by Instapage.
According to Andrzej Bieda from Landingi, personalization means keeping the customer at the center of everything that you do in sales and marketing:
“You should focus on two aspects. First, step into your customer’s shoes. What they need, want and desire. Talk to them in this way, not saying how great features your product or service has to offer. The second one is that you should consequently follow your message and stick to it, on every step, so ad, email, social media, landing page. It is essential to keep your potential customer in the same matter across the whole funnel, not to lose their focus and the attention they’ve got at the first touch point.”
Valentin Radu, CEO of Omniconvert, adds: “What is not being said is that simply using the location and the traffic source in order to personalize the web experience is not delivering a lot of added value.”
Before starting to personalize the web experience for the sake of making the website “better,” you should consider WHY are you personalizing.
The answers are often split into two directions: creating a better user experience (UX) and more conversions. Of course, better UX usually leads to more conversions, but not always.
The following are parameters you can use to personalize your website:
- Traffic source: paid media, organic, direct, social media, specific referrer
- Location: city, country, state, range around the city
- Weather conditions: sunny, raining, the temperature in Celsius or Kelvin
- Behavior: time on site, number of sessions, number of page views, time since the last visit, etc
- Technology: browser, resolution, device, operating system
- Custom: GTM data layer attribute, specific cookies, data from the CRM
Here’s is an example of a landing page that Prowly uses to target German prospects.
If you’re dealing with personal information from EU citizens, you need to take into account GDPR: personalization is still possible under GDPR, provided that you get prior consent from the customer or prospect to use his or her data for personalized marketing communication.
Another really powerful method for landing page personalization is using the RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) model. In a nutshell, by knowing (R) how recently a customer bought from you, (F) how many orders he or she placed, and (M) the total value of his or her orders, you can detect the love level this customer has for you and can prepare a relevant, personal experience for him or her.
Each customer gets a score from one to five for each of the three parameters. According to their scores, you will end up having your audience segmented into:
True lovers: R=5, F=5, M=5
Ex-lovers: R=1, F=5, M=5
Don Juans: R=5, F=1, M=5.
And then you can really come up with some crazy ideas, focusing on who really matters to your business.
Fun fact—RFM segmentation enables you to draw conclusions such as that a “true lover” is 80 times more valuable than a Don Juan.
4. Personalization in Content Marketing
Not all of your content will drive loads of conversions. A large share of your organic traffic will land on pages where the main purpose is informing rather than converting potential customers.
One way to add some value to these prospects is by asking them a number of questions and giving them some (personalized) information at the end. This can be done by embedding a quiz or assessment on your site, like in this example from Bid4Papers.
This works in two ways: the visitor learns something in an engaging way, and in the meantime you collect information that you can use for subsequent personalization.
- A person answers a “smart” questionnaire (which asks follow-up questions based on previously given answers).
- The system calculates what pre-defined segment the respondent belongs to.
- The outcome/result of the questionnaire is specially created for that segment, making it highly relevant and personal.
In a B2B environment, a personalization tactic that works really well is to auto-email a branded and personalized PDF report based on the answers visitors provided. The PDF report includes personalized recommendations—making it appear as if it was written by a consultant—giving it a high perceived value.
(Be cautious with this tactic, however: only do it if you can do it well. A number of low-end SEO software sites offer free, automated “SEO audits” which are superficial, often inaccurate, and not even close to a substitute for an actual professional website audit.)
BONUS TIP: Don’t forget the offline channel for delivering personalized content! Sending free copies of relevant books to specific people can grab their attention in a world where most things are digital. Not only do these tactics create loyal consumers, they also tend to create buzz on social media that tells other potential users about the software.
For example, And Co sends free books about running an independent business to specific people in its audience (freelancers).
Personalization in digital marketing improves your conversion rate, which ultimately results in increased revenue.
This makes sense because people like to feel special. Using one or more of these examples of personalization will help take your digital marketing to the next level.
However, to make the most of this approach, we recommend personalization across all channels and phases in your sales funnel. In fact, increasing personalization in more channels can increase overall consumer spending up to 500%!
Stefan Debois is the founder and CEO of Survey Anyplace, an online software tool to create engaging surveys, quizzes and assessments. Besides kitesurfing, Stefan is passionate about the use of technology to build professional relationships with people, at scale. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.